Why Exploiting Bayh-Dole “March-In” Provisions Would Harm Medical Discovery

April 29, 2016

The unintended exploitation of Bayh-Dole “march-in” rights would significantly harm biomedical innovation, writes Stephen Ezell in Innovation Files. “March-in” rights were included as a privilege for the government under the Bayh-Dole Act, which was enacted with bipartisan support in 1980 to address intellectual property created (at least in part) from government-funded research. In the rule’s 30-plus years of existence, “march-in” rights have never been used. Moreover, the march-in provision was designed for instances where a licensee was not making good faith efforts to bring an invention to market or when national emergencies require that more product is needed than a licensee is capable of making. It was never intended as a mechanism for Congress to control drug prices. To deploy march-in rights now in an effort to address drug pricing would have a negative impact on the future of innovation and set a dangerous precedent in the health-sciences industry.